Game number 2 of our Saturday in Dallas was a Dallas Stars game. I learned a lot more about hockey when I was in college and would go to games, but I will still admit that it’s one of the few sports where I don’t totally understand all of the rules. I get offsides and some of the penalties, but icing is totally lost on me. The only sports that I understand less are probably field hockey and cricket, and weird things will have to happen before I see a game of cricket live.
With all that being said, hockey is one of the sports I most enjoy watching live. I never watch on tv with the exception of the NHL playoffs and the Olympics, so that may contribute to why I like it so much in person. But I also think that it’s a great environment- hockey fans are as faithful as they come, and I am continually amazed watching hockey players do as much (if not more) on ice as I can do on land. Plus, there’s something almost comforting about the coolness of the rink while watching a game (especially when you get sunburned at a college football game the morning before).
Another testament to how dedicated hockey fans are- they play a lot of games in their schedule and yet their tickets are always among the most expensive. They honestly rival NFL games a lot of the time. One day, I’ll make enough money that I feel comfortable paying an obscene amount of money for tickets right on the glass, but for now and this game, I did the best middle of the road tickets I could find on Stubhub, which were the very top row of the lower bowl just right of center ice. The tickets were good, but the best part was the people we sat by. They were a couple of friends who are huge hockey fans in the Dallas area. One was a Dallas Stars fan while the other was an Edmonton Oilers fan, who the Stars were playing. Joel struck up a conversation with them, and they ended up telling us all about their fandom and attempted to explain the icing rule.
Going into the game, the three of us were really excited to see one of the highly touted up and comers in the game, Connor McDavid, who played for the Oilers. We were not disappointed. Early in the game we noticed that it was like he had another gear that the others around him didn’t- he could outskate anyone on the ice for a loose puck if he wanted. He scored a goal early in the first and again early in the second, and you could feel the tension that comes with events in sports like triple doubles and no-hitters; even the Dallas fans I think wanted to see the hat trick. And early in the 3rd period, we got it! None of us were wearing hats, unfortunately, so throwing a hat on the ice after a hat trick remains on my bucket list, but it was cool to see the hats reigning down in celebration of a pretty cool feat. The Oilers lead the whole game and won 5-2, and despite his team losing, the Stars fan we’d met invited us to go grab drinks with them at a Jack Daniels bar attached to the stadium. We went for a while and had a great time before heading back to our extremely sketchy hotel.
Between the two games, we decided to head back to the American Airlines Center area and grab something to eat there. We opted for a spot called Victory Tavern that was right next to the bar we’d been to the night before. It was a little more high end, but had a lot more seating so we were able to get seated right away in spite of the already significant crowd waiting for the game. The service was great, but the food was better- I had a salad, as did Jordy, but Joel got what he claims is “the best burger he’s ever had.” There you have it. Direct quote. I know he was telling the truth because Joel slathers anything and everything he eats in some sort of sauce and usually has to ask for more midway through his meal. He asked for ranch with this burger and didn’t even touch it. I will probably never see this ever again, so Victory Tavern, I thank you.
We parked in the same parking garage we’d been in the night before for this game, and it was the same price. Consistently one of my favorite parts of a hockey game is the pregame show, and Dallas certainly didn’t disappoint there. I always get to games super early, but I always recommend getting to hockey games for the ice displays before the introductions- it’s one of the coolest things in sports, I think.
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.